Still in Saigon
by Mack Bouldin
The Educational Publisher / Biblio Publishing

"He was ready to die like when he had been sent to Vietnam, only this time it was for himself, not his country."

During the Vietnam War, many soldiers return suffering from drug or alcohol addiction, suicidal depression, or all three. Few of these servicemen realize that they are devastating more than the Vietnamese countryside before they leave. They are also ruining the lives of countless individual natives. Local women, particularly prostitutes, suffer the callousness of the GIs they pleasure. Two such women are Kim Lee and Kim Chung. Ten years ago, they were both stabbed by the same client, a man with the last name of Chillingworth, who alternately used the first names Nevile and Rodney to confuse the police. Kim Lee craves love, acceptance, and a chance for American prosperity. Kim Chung's all-consuming goal is deadly revenge against GIs in general. She will do whatever she must to exact that revenge, even to the point of joining forces with the man who cut her. Meanwhile, Detective Ross Perry pursues the assassins from afar.

Most of Bouldin's GI characters are addicts with varying degrees of psychological trauma who believably compare the severities of their illness or dependency to those of others. Those who have not taken their own lives have, understandably, considered doing so. The narrative addresses the plight of sex workers in the Third World and demonstrates that the experiences of prostitutes change little across years and cultures. A half-Vietnamese boy represents the mixed-race children who frequently resulted from such liaisons. The usual expressions of disgust or regret attributed to soldiers returning from Vietnam are notably absent from the storyline. Also, some additional editing would enhance the story's effectiveness. The author's book might especially appeal to those interested in returning soldiers' views and the opinions of often-overlooked civilian groups.

Return to USR Home